Main content

Don't Be Rude on the Road

Alan Dein fastens his seat belt and takes a breakneck tour through the history of the public information film, from its postwar origins to its digital present.

Alan Dein fastens his seat-belt and takes a breakneck tour through the history of the Public Information Film, from its post war origins to its digital present.

For 65 years the Central Office of Information sought to influence the nation's behaviour with thousands of Public Information Films. Trawling through an abundant sea of archive, Alan finds the campaigns that arose in each decade and the themes that were repeated, until some attained cult value.

From road safety to child safety, using the telephone to embracing nuclear power, the dangers of drugs to the dangers of the internet, Public Information Films have been used to warn and educate young and old about the perils of life in an ever changing modern Britain.

The legendary Charley Says and Green Cross Man films have also made a comeback in the last few years to warn of 21st century hazards.

When it closed in 2012, the Central Office of Information left its vast film archive to the British Film Institute where it is undergoing the transformation from celluloid to digital at the BFI's Conservation Centre.

Most of the films heard on this programme can be viewed in the BFI Player by clicking on this link: http://player.bfi.org.uk/collections/public-information-films/

Producer Neil McCarthy.

Available now

58 minutes

Broadcasts

Featured in...

Seriously...

Seriously...

Discover more seriously interesting radio documentaries.